Economic Security - Financial Assistance


The financial assistance programs provide income support to individuals and families to meet basic needs while promoting wellness and independence. The programs are:

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was signed into law on August 22, 1996. This federal legislation provides block grants to states to fund programs that provide services and benefits to needy families. TANF was designed to give states flexibility to operate programs that serve one of the following purposes:

  • Provides assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives.
  • Ends the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage.
  • Prevents and reduces the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies.
  • Encourages the formation and maintenance of two parent families.

In Connecticut, TANF funds the Temporary Family Assistance program, Safety Net, Employment Services and many other programs and services for needy families. For a description of all the programs and services funded by TANF, please go to our TANF State Plan.

Temporary Family Assistance (TFA)

TFA provides cash assistance to families with children. For families with an employable adult, there is a 36-month time limit to receive TFA. Families without an employable adult have no limit to the amount of time they can receive benefits. Eligibility is based on income being lower than a set standard and assets being below limits.  Recipients of TFA are allowed to work and have their earnings excluded up to a set standard while keeping their cash assistance. Families are allowed to have up to $6,000 in total assets.

Families subject to the 36-month time limit may qualify for up to two six-month extensions as long as they continue to remain within the income and asset guidelines. Families may qualify for additional extensions in limited circumstances.

Minor parents can receive TFA, however are required to live with a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian. If there is good reason why they do not, then the minor must reside with an adult relative or in an adult-supervised living arrangement.

The Jobs First Employment Services (JFES) program provides employment services such as job search assistance and skills training and employment services to employable adult recipients of Temporary Family Assistance (TFA). Once DSS determines a family is eligible for TFA, participants will be referred to the JFES program unless there are medical or other program exemptions determined by DSS. All TFA participants who are determined to be work eligible are required to participate in employment services.

Some JFES participants may qualify for further education and training such as on-the-job training, occupational skills training, adult basic education, GED preparation, and English for speakers of other languages. 

Childcare and transportation assistance are available for families participating in activities and other supportive services to help address barriers while they seek employment.

Families receiving TFA are generally eligible for other public assistance programs and benefits such as medical assistance under Medicaid and food assistance under SNAP.

Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) Fact Sheet

For information on applying, please follow this link.

How to Access Cash and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits (after enrollment).

Safety Net Services

Families who have exceeded the time limit for TFA but are still within the income and asset guidelines of the program can receive additional services through the Safety Net program. This program is designed to minimize the likelihood of harm occurring to children and families who have lost TFA cash benefits. Safety Net provides solution-focused case management and care coordination for up to 12 months to help former recipients of TFA achieve self-sufficiency through the identification and reduction of barriers to employment.

State Supplement Cash Assistance

The State Supplement Cash Assistance program provides cash assistance to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled to supplement their income and maintain them at a standard of living established by the State Legislature. To receive benefits, individuals must have another source of income such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or Veterans’ benefits. To qualify as aged, an individual must be 65 years of age or older; to qualify as disabled, an individual must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and meet the disability criteria of the federal Social Security Disability Insurance program; and to qualify as blind, an individual must meet the criteria of the Social Security Disability program, or the State Board of Education and Services for the Blind.

The program is entirely state funded but operates under both state and federal law and regulation. Incentives are available to encourage recipients to become as self-supporting as their ages or abilities will allow. State Supplement program payments also promote a higher degree of self-sufficiency by enabling recipients to remain in non-institutional living arrangements. People eligible for State Supplement are automatically eligible for Medicaid.

Liquid assets cannot exceed $1,600 for a single person or $2,400 for a couple.

For information on applying, please follow this link.

State Supplement Application Process for Rated Housing Providers

DSS has three Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Application Centers.

Please follow this link to view Special Notice about State Supplement Applications for Rated Housing Providers.

The Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury LTSS Application Centers process all applications for rated housing providers from specific cities and towns.

Please check this table for which of the three LTSS Application Centers to use regarding state supplement applications for rated housing providers, based on your city or town.

Completed application packets should be mailed directly to the appropriate LTSS Application Processing Center.

State Administered General Assistance (SAGA)

SAGA is a cash assistance program that typically serves adults who are either permanently or temporarily unable to work due to a documented medical condition and whose income and assets are below program limits.

Individuals who applied for and are waiting to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration typically apply for SAGA while waiting for a decision. Those eligible for SAGA receive a small cash amount each month. Individuals cannot receive SAGA if they are eligible for any other state or federal cash assistance program.

State Administered General Assistance (SAGA) Fact Sheet

For information on applying, please follow this link.

Domestic Violence Cash Benefit Program

Effective 7/1/21, pursuant to Connecticut Public Act 21-78, the state added an amendment to the State Administered General Assistance program, to allow for a one-time assistance payment to current victims of domestic violence. A victim of domestic violence is an individual who has experienced at least one of the following events:

  • Physical acts that resulted in or were threatened to result in physical injury;
  • Sexual abuse;
  • Sexual activity involving a child in your home;
  • Being forced to participate in nonconsensual sexual acts or activities;
  • Threats of or attempts at physical or sexual abuse;
  • Mental abuse; or
  • Neglect or deprivation of medical care.

This cash benefit is intended to assist current victims of domestic violence by aiding in their recovery or to help them escape from their domestic violence situation.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and are seeking additional assistance, you may contact the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence Toll-Free 24-Hour Crisis Line at 1-888-774-2900.

Walk-ins are welcome and referred to the Social Work Division who will assign a Social Work staff member to assist with the application and evaluation of eligibility process.  Applications may be submitted in person or via mail addressed to the Social Work Unit within one of the 12 DSS Resource CentersApplications may also be submitted by Domestic Violence community partners, on behalf of the victim. Applications will not be accepted over the phone or online.

To apply with a hardcopy application, you can download the W-1DV application form:  Request for Cash Assistance Due to Domestic Violence.

Funeral and Burial Allowance

The Department pays for funeral and burial expenses of SAGA, TFA and State Supplement recipients and indigent persons who die without sufficient estate and do not have a legally liable relative able to pay the cost of a proper funeral and burial. 

The Department’s maximum payment is $1,350 (This amount will increase to $1,800 effective July 1, 2024). 

This amount is reduced by any liquid assets in the estate (such as money in a bank account), life insurance policies, the amount in any funeral fund, any prepaid funeral contract, and the amount of contributions (regardless of source) that exceed $3,400.

Applications must be made within one year of the date of death and may be filed by the funeral director, a family member, or any individual who made the funeral arrangements. 

Payments can only be made to the funeral director, cemetery or crematory. Family members and individuals cannot be reimbursed or receive payment from the Department. 

Applications must be submitted to a DSS Resource Center using the following: Application for Payment of Burial and Funeral Expenses